“I’m scared for myself and my family”: Protesters talk about why Donald Trump’s travel ban worries them

"I'm scared for myself and my family": Protesters talk about why Donald Trump's travel ban worries them

This morning, a crowd of hundreds of protesters gathered outside the U.S. consulate on University Avenue to express their displeasure with what has become known as Donald Trump’s “Muslim ban”: a surprise executive order that, with a few exceptions, prevents citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from immigrating to or entering the United States. The bulk of the order is set to expire in three months, but it has already created mass confusion as politicians and bureaucrats struggle to understand its implications. We asked a few protesters what they find most worrying about the situation.

Lauren Edwards

30, philosopher from Regent Park

“One of the most worrying things is that he bypassed all the legal checks and balances that are supposed to protect people from these rash, racist, islamophobic orders. It’s important to show up, so that our government knows that this isn’t the kind of country Canadians want for themselves.”

Shakeel Cheema

49, entrepreneur from Scarborough

“It starts with one community, then moves to another community, and spreads across the world. I’m here because I do not support hate.”

Maurice Tomlinson

45, policy analyst from Scarborough

“This order is disgraceful, stigmatizing, racist and islamophobic, and it needs to be rescinded as soon as possible. It discriminates not only against people from the countries targeted, but against all persons from the global south. Trump being a publicity hog, I think he’s going to listen to these kinds of protests. He needs to start questioning the popularity of his decisions.”

Bruno Ariganello

47, contractor from King West

“I think that Trump’s decision was an overreaction. There isn’t any proof that terrorists are coming from these countries. I think he and his administration have an eventual goal of banning all Muslims from coming into the U.S.”

Jovana Radakovic

20, from Hamilton

“I felt like it was important to show that it’s not just people in the States: it’s the whole world coming together against this ban. It’s un-American, and un-everything-that’s-good.”

Ruqayah Rahman

15, student from Malvern


“I’m scared for myself and my family. My dad works in America. Going in and out every weekend, I’m afraid he just won’t be able to come back. Even though I don’t know all these Muslims in America, I feel sad because they are my brothers and sisters in Islam.”

Venetia Butler

57, entrepreneur from Kensington Market

“I feel empathy for those whose families are left unsure. I feel sorry for the staff who have to deal with implementing Trump’s executive order. I don’t think it’s very good governing to create a bunch of victims, with no timeline or planning. I think that protests like this are effective at letting people feel like they can be part of change.”

Arjan Esfandiyari

36, copywriter from North York

“I’m not a sentimental person. I’ve never made a sign or protested before, so that should say enough.”

Skip Mendler

60, self-employed writer from Honesdale, Pennsylvania

“The executive order is very distressing. It’s a violation of due process, of what the U.S. has stood for in terms of our openness to the world. It’s a very dangerous precedent and an abuse of power. I find it very heartening to see how concerned Canadians are about what’s going on in America. I think protests help. Trump is particularly sensitive to his popularity, or lack of it.”


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